2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Full Test on Edmunds.com

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Full Test

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan

(3.5L V6 AWD 7-speed Automatic)

End of the Affair?

Let's all agree that relationships are challenging. Besides searching for the right fit amid the distractions and clutter, there's the effort in keeping the whole affair fresh and inspiring.

For the longest time, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class represented the type of luxury car with which you can build a meaningful relationship. It was sophisticated, attractive, dependable and a willing companion in your travels. It was the car you'd be proud to bring home. For 2014, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class may have hit a little bump in the road, however. A midcycle crisis, if you will. It got a little cosmetic work done, and in the process, its personality shifted just a bit, too.

More Features, New Look
For 2014, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class undergoes the first refresh since this fourth-generation model debuted in 2010. Our E350 test vehicle arrived with the Sport package, which removes the traditional three-pointed star ornament from the hood and places a much larger one smack dab in the middle of the grille. There's also a lower sport-tuned suspension and additional body cladding. It's a no-cost option, but it reduces some of the sedan's elegant road presence. From a design perspective, it looks like it's trying too hard to be something it's not.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350

Foregoing the Sport package gets you a much more measured nip and tuck, with a subtle tightening around the familiar grille, the tri-star emblem back atop the hood, a more sculpted chin and updated headlights.

This midcycle refresh also brings with it new standard features. Attention Assist helps keep drivers alert behind the wheel, and if their attention does lapse, Collision Prevention Assist diminishes the chances of rear-ending the car in front. Meanwhile, a new Eco stop-start function squeezes an extra mile or two out of every gallon of premium fuel. Optionally, buyers can choose from an array of safety assistants: surround-view camera system, cross-traffic alert, active parking assist and pre-collision passenger protection.

Take the Good With the Bad
Beneath that face-lift and safety updates, much of the E's core goodness remains. It does, after all, do luxury right. With a foundation of old-school sophistication, utilizing rich wood trim and finely grained surfaces, the interior is as a Mercedes should be: stately. We're even pleased with the MB-Tex synthetic leather that has the look and feel of genuine hides. Surrounding all of that is an appropriate amount of sound insulation that keeps road and wind noise from intruding.

While performing the usual commuting duties, our E350 maintains its poise with shifts that are so smooth, they're practically seamless. The new Eco stop-start is as good as those systems get, too, as it's quick to reawaken the engine at a stop without an intrusive shudder. Also praiseworthy are the front seats that provide hours of comfortable touring, though taller drivers noted that the seat cushion lacked thigh support. Rounding out the E-Class' many positive attributes are superb visibility in every direction, an intuitive COMAND interface and a large 15.9-cubic-foot trunk.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350

But somewhere along the way, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class seems to have lost some of the heft and solidity that we've become accustomed to. It no longer feels carved from a solid chunk of steel. It feels a bit more ordinary and a little less special.

From the driver's point of view, some of this is attributed to the new electric power steering system. Any notion of immediacy and road connection is lost, along with the revised effort and feedback. Where Mercedes' steering was typically on the heavy side, the new steering is too light effort and easily outrun with quick inputs. When the assist is outrun, it's replaced with confidence-sapping resistance. Even the self-centering effect seems to lazily miss the mark.

The Sport package, too, changes the car's character. We're used to an E-Class soaking up a majority of surface imperfections with grace and ease, but our E350 was simply too stiff on uneven bits of highway.

Not the Sportiest Sport Sedan
Under the hood is the same 3.5-liter V6 as before, churning out 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It's lashed to a seven-speed automatic transmission that, in our 4Matic tester, sends power to all four wheels. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 24 mpg in combined driving (21 city/29 highway), but we only managed to attain 25.8 mpg on our highway-heavy evaluation route and 18.7 mpg over its time with us.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350

At the track, the E350 4Matic made the sprint to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds (5.8 seconds with a 1-foot rollout as on a drag strip), which is essentially what we'd expect from its BMW 5 Series opponent. The brakes are equally effective, bringing the car to a halt from 60 mph in only 110 feet.

Even with the promise of our E350's Sport package, its handling reactions were far from athletic. And though it weaved through our slalom at 65.1 mph and pulled 0.87g around the skid pad (also comparable numbers to a 5 Series), the Mercedes never felt confidently tethered to the road. Rapid transitions weren't as easily managed as they are in most competitors, and the lazy steering further compounded matters, leaving us guessing how the car would react.

Even so, all of the numbers are adequate for the segment, and will not leave the average driver wanting better performance. Though sporty handling might not be a priority for most drivers, it's worth mentioning the E350's shortcomings.

There Might Be a Better Choice
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is still a good luxury sedan. Perhaps without the Sport package it could be even better. If we only cared about getting around in luxury, the E350 is a top pick, but if you're after a sedan that ideally balances performance and luxury, there are better choices. The Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF more accurately hit the mark.

With a base price of $55,325 for our E350 4Matic, the Mercedes is competitively priced. Our well-optioned tester totaled $65,300, which is still comparable to similarly equipped rivals. But with the bottom line being effectively equal, Mercedes-Benz could have done better. And with all these fish in the sea, you could do better, too.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.



  • ahightower ahightower Posts:

    I really like the appearance with that grill and wheels and new rear valance. Seen several in person and it really modernizes the look. Too bad it doesn't ride well. I see a lot of my new Accord in the profile and rear 3/4, which is a compliment to Honda.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    I'm going to be honest, I am a little surprised by this review. I'll admit part of it is bias, but this seems totally contradictory to every other automotive source who has generally agreed that the face-lift made the E-Class a better car overall. This review makes it sound like the E is continuing to do what it has always done: provide refined, traditional luxury. It has never been a sport sedan and I'm not sure why you would think a new appearance package would change that. Furthermore, this generation E-Class has always ridden stiffly with the AMG-wheels and non-air suspension. I certainly would not consider it uncomfortable. It is worse than the 5-Series, but about on par with the Audi. I almost always enjoy Mark's posts, but here it seems like he got totally hung up on the fact that the E-Class isn't a sport sedan and it clouded his vision to everything else.

  • niteriderc5 niteriderc5 Posts:

    "...but if you're after a sedan that ideally balances performance and luxury, there are better choices. The Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF more accurately hit the mark." Why not mention the new Cadillac CTS? Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, Motortrend etc already said it...its the new benchmark. Did you forget your own glowing review of the car as well? Typical ....

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @niteriderc5, I agree that the new CTS is impressive, but no one has called it the benchmark yet. It is likely the performance benchmark, but as the ATS has shown the better driving car isn't necessarily the better car. Once comparison tests start rolling

  • niteriderc5 niteriderc5 Posts:

    Mercedesfan - "Benchmark", "best handling" are words being thrown around regarding the CTS based on current reviews. Im not making this up. I'm no fan boy either (I daily drive a CLK Mercedes) I just thought it was careless to bring up the Jag XF (a car that exhibits no commendable objective characteristic and few subjective) and not the Cadillac CTS, which Insideline themselse have already tested and like.

  • niteriderc5 niteriderc5 Posts:

    To quote Insideline "beautifully flat even in hard corners, while still maintaining a resiliency that allows it to soak up berms without becoming unsettled. It follows its intended path with precision - the Vsport's chassis exhibits poise and alertness, and drives smaller than it is. - This is insidelines editor, Motortrend summed up similarly..Lets also put this in perspective, aren't those the exact same traits every editor and enthusiast loved about the pre bloated BMW 5 series for ? (E60, E39) Listen CUE is a first of its kind with GM, wasnt Idrive a POS? Give it time CuE 2.0 is already being developed as we speak.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @niteriderc5, I absolutely agree with everything you said about the way the CTS drives. The ATS is also phenomenal from behind the wheel. I simply want to caution that just because it drives well and reviews well in early First Drives does not make it the

  • niteriderc5 niteriderc5 Posts:

    Mercedesfan- I understand what you are saying. But lets be honest, the E class sells on its history and of course the three pointed star majority of the time. Forget its "luxury" attributes because anyone can throw together a car with soft suspension and extra sound deadening material these days and call it luxury. There are things that do and should stand out in this particular segment and driving dynamics should be relevant. I agree with this article's editor that the E class is not what it used to be. IMO add the C class, 5 Series and 3 Series to that list of. They will continue to sell because the perception of excellence has already been established. It's almost comical thinking about the level of decontent going on with mainstream luxury German cars these days.

  • niteriderc5 niteriderc5 Posts:

    Dont even get me started on the excess weight gains either...If Cadillac can keep the weight of its sedans in check the way it does why cant BMW, Mercedes and Audi do the same?

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @niteriderc5, I highly disagree that the C-Class and E-Class are not what they used to be. There is simply no question that the W204 is the best the C-Class has ever been. My first car way back in 1994 was a C280. Great straight-6 engine, but pretty medio

  • Interesting how the Lexus GS F Sport is left out of this. Lexus has improved a lot with their new generation GS. The new GS is another car that every one should consider and test drive.

  • cbrandi_ cbrandi_ Posts:

    Well I guess it is to be expected. With the Germans racing down market to grab ever larger shares of the total auto market, that they'd begin producing mediocre cars. I note BMW is guilty of the same with its 3 and 5 series. I sure hope Jaguar doesn't follow suite with its coming smaller sedan. At this price point we should be getting something that feels special, not a mass production product. Mercedes has at least kept its individual models looking unique. WIth BMW and Audi they all look like different sizes of the same car. It's actually hard to distinguish a 3 from a 5 series or a A4 from an A6 or A8.

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